At this time and this place

Late spring is lovely here, as the cherry blossoms give way to azaleas. May 2016

Late spring is lovely here, as the cherry blossoms give way to azaleas. May 2016

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”Azar Nafisi

Now that Jeff is retired, we can sell our Alexandria townhome and take up a less peripatetic existence in York County.  That’s what we plan to do, gradually, but letting go of our part-time home here is more difficult than we imagined it might be.

Strange, really. One could argue that we should be eager to leave. We’ve had the most difficult years of our lives here; one heartbreak after another, devastating news followed by medical trauma followed by losses of loved ones and shattered illusions of permanence and security.

Yet there has been so much beauty too, and even joy.  Our two grandsons came to life during this time, as did this blog.  We’ve somehow survived more than we dreamed was in store for us, and managed to salvage countless moments of light happiness and laughter tucked in between the dreary days, glowing like tiny lighthouses, showing us that there really was shelter in the storm.

We’ve been so grateful for our kind and considerate neighbors here, and their delightful children and precious dogs and cats, and the lovely cherry blossoms and blooming gardens that somehow flourish in the crowded residential areas so close to a huge city.  We’re thankful, too, for the friendships that have blossomed amid the chaos, and the ties that have been formed or renewed as people who care about us have enclosed us in a cocoon of compassion, prayers, and warm expressions of support.

Just as one can never step in the same river twice, no person or place can stay the same. Change is inevitable.  The best we can hope for is accompanying growth, fond memories and bright new opportunities.  Whenever we look back on our time here, I know we might wonder how on earth we managed to endure much of what the years brought.  But we’ll smile, too, thinking of all the blessings. Thanks to each of you for being among them!

Even when we are not planning an upcoming move from one location to another, all of us are continually leaving behind the past and moving into new phases of life.  What will you miss about this time and place?  What will you hold close in heart today, as you savor each moment?

This post was first published seven years ago today. I ended up selling the Alexandria home in late 2018, and in 2021 I sold the York home that we once thought would be our permanent retirement home. Both homes I enjoyed to the fullest while I had them, and in each case, I knew the time was right to sell and close that chapter of my life. Because of this, I can say honestly that I have not missed either home, feeling only a deep gratitude for having had the blessing of these two lovely places for as long as we had them, and happy that I sold them when I did.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

4 Comments

  1. Chris

    Julia,
    Hi. Wishing you well today! I enjoyed reading your “footnote”. Such transition in a few short years, and yet, your attitude of gratitude for the blessings is so radiant. I admire that perspective.
    We’ve talked about change before; the seemingly only constant in life. I’m still struggling with notions of ‘leaving behind the past and moving into new phases of life’. Of late, I’m so irresolute. It’s certainly not a phase I’m enjoying or accustomed to. I am grateful, though, for friends like you that help me focus.

    • Hi Chris, as always I appreciate your kind words. The transition was made easier by the great difficulty of having had to manage, all alone, two (or for a short time, even THREE) fairly large homes over a distance not easily traveled between them. The logistical relief of having only ONE home to manage has gone a long way in making me happy that chapter is closed.

      Irresolute? Maybe we can find a way to re-frame that. Perhaps you are (rightly) taking advantage of the time to rest from the structured, largely predetermined schedule of years past, to experiment with new ideas, new possibilities, new opportunities. Remember, having time to do that is a luxury of sorts, made possible by your hard work for so many years. Embrace the clean pages of your daily planner! Scribble in the margins and draw childlike pictures in the blank spaces! I have grown to look forward to those days when I have nothing definite scheduled, no appointments or obligations that I must prioritize. There are so many books, so much to explore outdoors, so many people to write to, so many ideas to consider, so many challenges to take on– or leave to others. It may take time, but I am confident you will learn to love this new chapter.

      • Chris

        Julia,
        Thanks for the reassurance! 🙂 You are correct in that I have taken some time enjoying a break from the “structured” routine. I think I might be running into the next phases of retirement, as described by Dr. Moynes in his TED talk. I’ve included the link. Take a listen. It’s certainly entertaining; you’ll enjoy it.
        Cheers!

        • Well now that I’ll be spending a lot of (unplanned and totally unexpected) time sitting around Matthew’s hospital room, I’ll probably have plenty of time to enjoy it. Just not yet…

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